California Hires Eric Holder for Legal Fights Against Trump White House

Former Attorney General Eric Holder / AP

Democratic leaders in the California Legislature announced Wednesday that they have hired Eric Holder, the former attorney general under President Obama, to represent them in legal battles with the Trump administration.

The Legislature now has Holder, currently a lawyer in Washington, D.C., on retainer to fight President-elect Donald Trump's White House on issues such as immigration, the environment, and criminal justice, the New York Times reported.

"Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California," said Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the state Senate, in an interview. "This means we are very, very serious."

California's state government is under almost complete Democratic control. The Democratic Party holds two-thirds of each legislative chamber and every statewide office. Legislative leaders in the state are expecting to battle the president-elect when he takes office.

"It was very clear that it wasn't just campaign rhetoric," León said of Trump's policy proposals. "He was surrounding himself with people who are a very clear and present danger to the economic prosperity of California."

Holder is not the first high profile Democrat to be tapped by the California government for its upcoming legal battles with the Trump administration. Rep. Xavier Becerra retired from the U.S. Congress late last year in order to return to California as the state's attorney general.

Mr. Holder, now a lawyer at the firm Covington & Burling, was President Obama's attorney general from 2009-2015.

"I am honored that the Legislature chose Covington to serve as its legal adviser as it considers how to respond to potential changes in federal law that could impact California's residents and policy priorities," Holder said in a statement. "I am confident that our expertise across a wide array of federal legal and regulatory issues will be a great resource to the Legislature."

The firm's retainer fee has not yet been set but will be made public once it has been determined.